"Our civilization is no more than the sum of all the dreams that earlier ages have brought to fulfillment. And so it must always be, for if men cease to dream, if they turn their backs upon the universe, the story of our race will end." Arthur C. Clarke
Astronomy and basic space science have advanced rapidly in recent years. This has mainly been driven by the advent of the Space Age over the past five decades. At the same time the needs for a new development process became obvious as countries made efforts to benefit from rapid progress in space science and technology. This process required a complete innovation of the driving forces for development where no previous examples were available. Although new development models have been applied with different levels of success, a large number of countries around the world continue to lack the human, technical, and financial resources to conduct even the most basic activities in this field, such as operating a small astronomical telescope facility in an university environment and making use of such facilities in research and education. The need to make the benefits of basic space science available to all countries is growing more urgent with each passing year.